Platform On Platforms

Reader/historian Andrei Cherny., a veteran platform committee drafter for the Democrats, writes:

I disagree with your assessment of platforms. Political scientists who've looked at it say that platforms are still a lot better of an indication of what a president will do than the campaign policies are. It is the place where a political party and coalition has to hash things out and the compromises reached presage the struggles and positions that will eventually be seen between the White House and Capitol Hill, etc.

Maybe so. Check out these excerpts from the 2000 Republican National Committee platform:

Government also has a responsibility to protect personal privacy, which is the single greatest concern Americans now have about the Information Revolution. Citizens must have the confidence that their personal privacy will be respected in the use of technology by both business and government. That privacy is an essential part of our personal freedom and our family life, and it must not be sacrificed in the name of progress. At the same time, consumers should have the benefit of new products, services, and treatments that result from the legitimate use of data with appropriate safeguards. We applaud the leadership already demonstrated in this regard by many outstanding businesses, which are ensuring individuals’ privacy in various ways and promoting public education about the consumer’s right to privacy.

We want to expand opportunity instead of government.

Implement the "American Dream Down Payment" program, which will allow a half million families who currently draw federal rental assistance to become homeowners, and allow families receiving federal rental payments to apply one year’s worth of their existing assistance money toward the purchase of their own first home, thus becoming independent of any further government housing assistance. This approach builds upon our long standing commitment to resident management of public housing and other initiatives.

We will reopen Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House as a symbolic expression of our confidence in the restoration of the rule of law.

On Social Security,

Key changes should merit bipartisan agreement so any reforms will be a win for the American people rather than a political victory for any one party.

It is time for America to regain its focus. Winston Churchill, after he had lived through other years that the "locust hath eaten," declared: "The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and

baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to a close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences." As idle indulgence gives way to a new Republican president in the coming new "period of consequences," the United States can again regain the hope it lost eight years ago. We can restore our country’s sense of international purpose and national honor.

A Republican president will identify and pursue vital American national interests. He will set priorities and he will stick to them. Under his leadership, the United States will build and secure the peace. Republicans know what it takes to accomplish this: robust military forces, strong alliances, expanding trade, and resolute diplomacy.

Yet this new realism must be inspired by what we stand for as a nation. Republicans know that the American commitment to freedom is the true source of our nation’s strength. That is why, for one example, Congressional Republicans have made political and religious liberty a cornerstone of their approach to international affairs. That commitment is the glue that binds our great alliances. It is strong precisely because it is not just an American ideal. We propose our principles; we must not impose our culture. Yet the basic values of human freedom and dignity are universal.